When Jared Laird came to PSCS as a student in 2009, he was tired of being just another face in his old school of more than 1000 students, and frustrated with classes that moved too slowly.
“I felt more at home at PSCS then I ever did at my old school,” Jared says. “I didn’t feel like a number. I felt like a part of the community and I was always treated with respect.”
PSCS encourages students to expand their notion of when and where learning can happen. While he was a student, Jared seized on this idea and submitted an application to be a student representative on the Board of Trustees.
“A lot of PSCS has to do with controlling your education,” he says. “And being on the board was sort of an extreme to that. I think it’s important to represent student concerns and how I personally feel about certain changes. It was an amazing experience. My dad works in finance, so I’m always hearing a lot about business. It’s really cool to see numbers in action, seeing how the board works, and how it solves problems.”
One of Jared’s top priorities as a board member was ensuring that the school’s philosophy of honoring each individual student is held sacred. He remembers witnessing the power of this idea at his first PSCS graduation ceremony, in which seniors are celebrated one at a time. Graduates will read their credo, or statement of belief, and then receive appreciations from members of the community that can last almost an hour.
“At the end of my first year, one of my first friends at the school, Noni, was graduating,” Jared remembers. “It was amazing to hear her beliefs, hear her talking and not some elected student representative. It was amazing to see and hear all the appreciations.”